Apparently, there's a playoff game at the Orange Bowl on Saturday night between FIU and FAU. Don Shula Bowl VI is a "playoff" for FAU as it needs to beat FIU to have something to play for next week at Troy.
Now before anyone brands Owls linebacker Cergile Sincere as the next Jim Mora. The Owls senior makes a valid point when he said earlier this week: "That’s what’s been in the air the whole week – [FIU] is trying to end our season and make their season, because they know what’s at stake. They know that if they beat us, we’ll be out of it. But as a team, as FAU, we’re going in there to take care of business. We’re taking it as a business. It’s no fun and games. I mean, it is the Shula Bowl, but it’s the playoffs. This is the game setting up the Super Bowl. So if you wanna make it to the Super Bowl, you’ve got to make it out of the playoffs."
As former Indianapolis Colts coach Mora said in his infamous rant: "What's that? Uh -- Playoffs? Don't talk about -- playoffs? You kidding me? Playoffs? I just hope we can win a game!"
If FAU (4-1 in Sun Belt) wins tommorrow, then next Saturday at Troy (6-0 in SBC) is for the conference championship and a trip to the New Orleans Bowl.
The Golden Panthers can ruin the Owls' travel plans, if they continue to produce on offense like they have in the last three Sun Belt games they've played. FAU has one of the best offenses in the conference. The least amount of points the Owls have scored in a Sun Belt game this season was in their season-opening win against Middle Tennessee 27-14.
So the onus for this one will be placed on the FIU defense, especially the secondary which will have to stop QB Rusty Smith and a physical corps of receivers. Only two teams have thrown for more than 300 yards on FIU's defense this season: Penn State and Kansas. But that stat may be a bit skewed, because the Golden Panthers have had a tough time stopping the run.
The good news is FAU's defense is giving up 35 points per game in Sun Belt games so like last week's game it could be another offensive show.
Logically, the GPP sees this game as FAU 30-17, but I've seen a livelier atmosphere this week at FIU's practices. So we're going to throw Spock's logic out the window on this one. Could FIU's increased enthusiasm at practices this week have been due to the Thanksgiving week joy? Maybe. But here's taking a shot that the Golden Panthers are ready to snap the skid and in a big way by denying their rivals a chance at the Sun Belt crown.
GPP thinks: FIU 27, FAU 26
While this has nothing to do with Saturday's game, I found this Howard Schnellenberger quote interesting. Earlier this week, HS was asked whether MC will be more competition than Don Strock when it comes to recruiting:
"We don't know yet. They were behind schedule last year. [Cristobal] will have his coaches spend a lot more time down here than Don (Strock) did."
alt7787: You are correct on your Google reference.
fiugrad78: We'll put up a baseball recruit list in the next blog. There is definitely a noticeable difference in the excitement for FIU baseball this season. The only negative about all the new good recruits is that not all of them will wear an FIU uniform, because some will be drafted by Major League Baseball. But that's part of the recruiting game and at least TT is not afraid to go after those guys.
UltimateFIUFan: There is no radio deal with FIU men's hoops this season. Games can be heard on the FIU student radio station 95.3 FM. Will check on your Panther Pass question. Your welcome on FIU hoops.
Messod: Sorry to hear about the 25-degree temps in NC. It's a comfortable 72 with a gentle breeze and clear skies down here.
paradox: We've had a picture on the GPP's left rail of a Miami Herald FIU sportswriter since its inception. The GPP appreciates all the ladies that read our blog. Thank you.
cobracommandr: Welcome to the GPP. Your rookie posts have been as impressive as Adrian Peterson this season until he went down with a knee injury. Keep it going! AP will be back next week and hopefully so will you!